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Jayson Werth still thinks the Nats were the best team in baseball at the end of last season

Jan 31, 2014, 3:49 PM EDT

Jayson Werth AP

Jayson Werth and a lot of Nats fans were saying this back in September. Werth is still saying it:

“But all in all, you look at the way we played coming down the stretch, if we get in the postseason – which we only missed by a couple of games even as bad as we played in the first half – if we get in, we were the best team in baseball at the time. I think it was ours to lose, really.”

On the one hand, yes, he’s right. The Nats did look good late. They were finally putting it together and playing up to the potential everyone thought they had. On the other hand, the post season is a best of five and a couple best of sevens in the course of a month. Any number of teams can and do win 11 of 19 games multiple times a season.

That’s why baseball, even with the wild cards and the play-in game, is still the best. The playoffs may be something of a crap shoot, but getting into them isn’t. And as such, talk about how was hot late and who would “be dangerous if they got in” has never carried a lot of water with me.

Earn your right to be dangerous in October by winning more games in April and May.

  1. drs76109 - Jan 31, 2014 at 3:53 PM

    …and Charlie Manuel should be the Nats mgr.

    (eyeroll)

  2. rcali - Jan 31, 2014 at 3:55 PM

    Lot of fat wallets on that team and they played like it.

    • David Proctor - Jan 31, 2014 at 3:59 PM

      Well except Werth, the fattest pocket, was one of the best hitters in the league in 2013. What are you talking about?

  3. tcostant - Jan 31, 2014 at 3:55 PM

    I just hate this. Back in late April, May and June we all knew this teams wasn’t playing well. And all we heard from the team, was “there is plenty of time” and “we know we have a good team”. And that start just killed them. No sence of urgency – nothing. Flat right out of the All-Star break and it was over.

    Hopefully they learned there lesson.

    • dinofrank60 - Jan 31, 2014 at 4:01 PM

      When players on a team say those things, that’s trouble.

    • lphboston - Jan 31, 2014 at 5:31 PM

      100 percent right.

      Everybody bought into Davey Johnson’s attitude of they’re veterans and they’ll figure it out. Then it was just too late.
      Fast out of the gate this year. Hope Williams doesn’t let them coast like DJ did.

  4. David Proctor - Jan 31, 2014 at 3:58 PM

    Over August and July, two full months, the Nationals were 34-20, which is a .630 winning percentage. Even if you look at the entire second half, they had a .567 winning percentage, which isn’t out-of-this-world, but it is quite good and a 92 win pace. While Werth probably should not have said this, because frankly it doesn’t matter and it’s impossible to predict what would’ve happened in the postseason, his overall point was that the Nationals finished strong and that there’s reason to expect them to play well in 2014. He’s not necessarily wrong on that point.

    • spudchukar - Jan 31, 2014 at 5:12 PM

      Did Werth manage to forget that his Nats were swept by the 2013 NL Champions in the final week of the season?

  5. Reflex - Jan 31, 2014 at 3:59 PM

    Agreed. I’ve never understood people who think it matters what month a team is hot in. A win is a win. The Nats finished strong, but they were not one of the best in their division last season. They were beaten by better teams, hands down.

  6. mtr75 - Jan 31, 2014 at 4:00 PM

    It was yours to lose even though you didn’t make the playoffs? Well, then, Jay, seems like you lost.

  7. captainwisdom8888 - Jan 31, 2014 at 4:05 PM

    Being the best team in baseball over the course of a couple weeks just doesn’t mean anything in the long run. I don’t want to hear anything about “being the best team in baseball” from a player who didn’t see so much as a single postseason game last year.

  8. dlgdc - Jan 31, 2014 at 4:11 PM

    I love the Nats, but they cleaned up at the end of the season because they had most of their games against teams like the Mets and Marlins. Overall they had one of the easiest schedules in baseball last year. I think they played only 65 of their 162 games against teams .500 or better.

  9. jc4455 - Jan 31, 2014 at 4:11 PM

    They played the Cardinals Sept 23-25 when they still had a chance to catch Cincinnati and they got swept. That was their playoffs and they went 0-3.

  10. louhudson23 - Jan 31, 2014 at 4:46 PM

    This speaks to the importance and beauty of the 162 game season.While the expanded playoffs diminish things with every team added,Werth’s words only highlight the fact that while it is better to end the season playing well,you have to do well at more than just the end. Sucking in the first half digs a whole that 6 weeks of week teams and playing well can dig you out of…..The first three months count the same as the last three…for awhile yet,anyway….

  11. bkertz - Jan 31, 2014 at 4:55 PM

    Woulda, coulda, shoulda.

  12. km9000 - Jan 31, 2014 at 5:15 PM

    The Dodgers went on an insane run, and I’m sure they all thought the playoffs were theirs to lose too.

  13. chad10 - Jan 31, 2014 at 6:21 PM

    He’s just talking baseball. People get so exercised about who should be able to say what. It’s just baseball. It’s what makes it so great. You talk about it, you argue about it, you lose sleep over it, and you teach it to get your 10-year-old kid in mid-season rooting form by telling him or her how “we were the best team in baseball after rosters expanded” and it’s cool. “Our guys also ruled the AFL, everyone coming off Tommy John will be back and better than ever, and did you see who we got in the Rule 5 draft? Playoffs, baby!”

  14. pastabelly - Jan 31, 2014 at 7:06 PM

    2013 actually featured the four best teams in both leagues LCS. That’s what made it great. Washington wasn’t missed. It’s also easy to win when there’s no pressure. Dodgers, Tigers, Cards, or Sox would have rolled them.

  15. chill1184 - Jan 31, 2014 at 9:55 PM

    Thats a nice fat target Werth is placing on his teams back.

  16. realgone2 - Feb 1, 2014 at 9:13 AM

    I’m a Braves fan but the Nats could have easily taken the NL East last year. That being said they waltzed into the season already thinking they were the champs. By the time they realized that they weren’t going to be handed the title on a silver platter they were done. They started playing really well but it was too late. Looks like they may have the same attitude again. Can only help my team more.

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